I’m typing this in my office, the last time it will be used as my office on the last day I’ll be a full-time staff member here, just before leaving. It’s been a quiet day at camp, and I took the afternoon to rake the Lowe Trail. I built this trail, and it was completed several years ago. It was a project of mine that I really wanted to make sure I finished. I said many times that I was not leaving this place until it was done. I walked it to Wilderness Camp, where I spent 3 summers as Wilderness Director. I laid down in my old bed in the Director’s Tent and looked out over the river as the sun set. I traveled to the Waterfront to chat with my dear friend, Mark Wiggins. I walked up to the Conference Center to the Prayer Chapel, which I’ve spent years trying to help feel like an actual chapel. A place that the camp was so kind to name after me. I went upstairs and walked around the front room and the sunroom, so quiet now. I could remember all the loud nights spent there. All the late nights, after campers had gone to bed spent waiting to make sure everything was peaceful. I looked out that wall of window, out to the river, where on lucky days I could see bald eagles flying. I went to the canteen and had a Heath bar, one of my favorite snacks, there, for old times sake. I walked the parking lot, a stretch I’ve crossed so many times in summer heat and winter cold, in bright sunlight and midnight darkness. I looked at across from the hill to Pilot Knob, now lit up with Christmas lights, and made my way back down to the Administration Building, such a familiar walk.
I told myself to soak in how all of this feels. I know that when I return, this great comfort will be different. This will not be the place I live day in and day out. I hoped the afternoon would be a time to relish this and enjoy it one more time. It was a walk through the past 17 years of my life. It was beautiful. I am so thankful for all the memories I will carry with me that are tied in to all these different places. For the people I’ve had the honor of welcoming and working with over these years. For the way that this place has shaped me into the person I am. I hope that all you who read this know how special this place is, and know the power that it can have on a person. I hope that you cherish these memories like I do, and that you return to them frequently like I hope that I will. I know there is an exciting world out there for me, and I look forward to seeing what is next. But, here in my office today, I am thinking of how lucky I am to have been the person who got to have his name on this door for so many years. May this place continue to be blessed and continue to bless those who walk through these doors. I will miss this place like an old friend. Thanks to all who have been a part of this with me. For those of you who read these words each week, who follow the camp, and who support it. Thanks for believing in me and trusting me with your campers, counselors, staff, and even yourselves. You mean so much to me. I feel humbled and honored at once to tell you that I am about to move on, but I will never forget what happens here. Goodbye.